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Gum Repositioning - Beautopedia

Gum Repositioning

This guide provides information about reshaping the gum line, the different causes for a gummy smile and ways of eliminating the problem to achieve a naturally looking smile.

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What is Gum Repositioning?

Gum repositioning is a cosmetic dentistry procedure which is used to reduce or reshape the gum line. The main reason for gum reshaping is to eliminate visibility of the gums when the patient smiles (often referred to as a gummy smile). Cosmetic dentists state that an aesthetically pleasing smile is one where the upper lip falls where the gum meets the two front teeth.  Gum contouring helps to achieve this outcome. It can also be used to even out the gum line where the tissue has receded.

Laser Gum Repositioning

In many cases, cosmetic dentists can use lasers in order to remove the excess gum tissue. Often, this is all that’s required in order to achieve aesthetic results which can make a huge difference. A diode laser is used to precisely sculpt the gum line. An experienced cosmetic dentist will be able to create just the right proportions of gum tissue and tooth surface with ease. This procedure avoids cutting and bleeding since the laser vaporizes and seals the surplus gum tissue. Local anesthesia is used and the treatment time is around 15 minutes to half an hour.

Crown Lengthening Gum Repositioning

Often the term ‘crown lengthening’ leads patients to believe the procedure is about lengthening the teeth. On the contrary, this procedure actually involves shortening the gums in order to make the crowns appear longer and more natural. Sometimes laser gum contouring cannot remove enough gum tissue in order to achieve the desired results. Where a larger portion of the gum needs to be excised, this requires crown lengthening.

The procedure is more invasive than laser gum repositioning and requires surgery. General anesthesia is used. The dentist surgically removes excessive tissue to reshape the gum line. The surgery takes around one to two hours and the healing period is much longer, typically requiring 4 to six weeks to heal. Veneers may be required where the results show the roots of your teeth.

Gum Repositioning To Repair Loss of Gum Tissue

Gum tissue can be worn away and creates an imbalanced appearance of the gum line. This can occur on one tooth, multiple teeth or where a tooth is missing (causing the tissue to collapse). Where the loss of tissue is generalized over the whole set of teeth, rather than isolated, this can also be unappealing. Whilst there’ll be asymmetry, the teeth will look overly lengthy and disproportionate to the normal width to length ratio.

The gum can be repositioned using grafts. The cosmetic dentist uses donor tissue to replace lost tissue. Donor grafts can be obtained from another site within your mouth or from other sources. After replacing the tissue, the result should be a healthy looking gum contour with the teeth appearing to grow naturally out of the gum.

Alternatives to Gum Repositioning

There can be a number of causes for the gummy smile other than surplus gum tissue. If the top lip is too mobile (called a hypermobile lip) with excessive upward movement when you smile, then you may require lowering of the upper lip rather than gum repositioning. This would be suitable where teeth sizing, facial proportions and lip length are otherwise normal. It can be performed by a cosmetic dentist. On the other hand, where the upper lip is too short (generally less than 22 millimeters) and all other facial features are normal then this would need to be repaired by a plastic surgeon rather than a cosmetic dentist. Another possible reason for showing too much gum line is a lengthy upper jaw bone (vertical maxillary excess). This can be dealt with by an oral surgeon.

How much does Gum Repositioning Cost? Price Information

Price Range: $$ affordable $$$ moderate $$$$ high-priced

Price Indicator: $$$$

Cheapest Cost of Gum Repositioning: $600

Maximum Cost of Gum Repositioning: $2,000

Average Cost of Gum Repositioning: $1,300

These Prices are Per Treatment and Usually Include: dentist fees & anesthesia

Additional costs of Gum Repositioning may include:

- crown lengthening (costs more than repositioning by laser)

- veneers, where reduction of the gum line is insufficient.

Medicare/Medicaid: not covered

Private Health Insurance: may be covered by some insurance plans.

Financing: offered by most dentists, orthodontists and cosmetic finance companies.

Factors affecting the Cost of Gum Repositioning:

The above prices deal with reducing the gum tissue. Laser gum repositioning is cheaper and quicker than crown lengthening. Additionally, there may be other causes for the patient’s gummy smile including overbite, short upper lip, hypermobile lip or short crowns. The cause may also be a combination of these factors. The price will vary depending on the severity of the problem and the required treatment approach.

When asking for a quote, ask the clinic for the total cost including all fees and whether any rebates, specials or discounts apply.

How to Find the Best Gum Repositioning Dentist

Gum Repositioning is a specialized treatment which should be administered by a qualified dentist or orthodontist specializing in gummy smiles. When searching for a Gum Repositioning specialist, make sure you research their qualifications, credentials, training and experience. Being a member of the American Dental Association does not indicate that a dental specialist is trained and experienced in this treatment.

Be sure to ask your dentist which procedures they specialize in, where they trained and how many treatments they’ve performed. Obtain lots of before and after photos of patients they’ve treated for the same area using the selected technique.

Even if a dentist has the right credentials, this does not mean they will be good at performing Gum Repositioning. Apart from researching their formal qualifications and training, try to find customer reviews to see the overall satisfaction rate of your potential dental specialist. Independent recommendations are invaluable for assessing the best dentist or oral surgeon who is most experienced in the treatment. Don’t be tempted to opt for the cheapest cost without considering the above factors. A cheap center may not offer the experience you desire.

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